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Email Marketing Strategies: Targeted Newsletters

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, October 23, 2019

email marketing

By Terri Ross, Terri Ross Consulting

Once you have identified and attracted the attention of your patient population, it is essential to stay in touch. One of the easiest and most direct ways to do this is to send out targeted newsletters that inform prospective and current patients alike about new treatments, new technology in the field of medical aesthetics and special rates your office is offering. As I discussed in my blog on building an effective marketing program, once you have identified your target population, developing personalized marketing tools to guide them toward a consultation appointment is the next step.

Identify Your Patient Population

Identifying your patient population is the most critical aspect of a successful marketing program. Your patient population consists of current patients, new patients and prospective patients. To market to each of these groups effectively, you will need to first establish communication—collect basic contact information, including their email addresses.

Current/new patients: For current and new patients, the process of establishing a connection and recording patient information has likely already taken place. From the very first appointment, your front office staff should be engaging, be knowledgeable and work to establish a personal connection with each patient. (Click here to learn about the LAER model I developed for training front office staff here.) This includes collecting basic patient history and recording current contact information. If some patients are hesitant to relay their email or physical addresses, assure them that their information is protected and will not be shared with external parties.

Prospective patients: Establishing communication with prospective patients is a more challenging but equally important task. Consider what types of clientele you want to attract to your office and what types of treatments and technology might appeal to them. Find your patient niche and commit to it. From there, you can market specifically to this niche.

First, configure your website so it’s searchable to this population and create a page specifically for prospective patients. On this page, include concise and key information about your medical aesthetic office and what sets it above the rest. Offer information about a few key procedures and treatments you offer. Most importantly, include a well-defined banner that allows prospective patients to join your newsletter list by providing basic contact information, including their email address.

Attending and setting up booths at local, regional and national medical aesthetic conferences and shows is another way to secure and market to your prospective patient audience. This gives you a chance to market your office to a wider audience. Feature a sign-up sheet that promises attendees personalized treatment plans and special rates. Be sure to also assure prospective patients that their information will be protected.

To help organize your marketing materials and define strategies to market to current, new and prospective patients, divide patients into different groups based on their specific treatment/procedure interests, age and how many years they’ve been a patient with you (if relevant). This will allow you to personalize your marketing materials and send targeted newsletters to the right populations.

Select a Secure Email Marketing System

Practice-purchased: The best option—if you can allocate resources towards it—is to purchase a secure email marketing software for your medical aesthetic office. There are many solutions on the market to choose from, from simple platforms to sophisticated systems. Companies such as Campaign Enterprise offer business-level software for purchase that allow you to create your own database, tailor your own system and personalize your marketing materials. Click here to read more about this software. One of the advantages of this option is that you can keep all your patient information—including contact information—secure. No third party will have access to this information, making it protected and fully yours. This approach will take a greater investment of time and resources to fully set up, so you will need to budget for this expense upfront. You may also want to invest in training for key members of your office staff, to get the system up and running at full capacity. Once established, however, having a practice-purchased email marketing solution is the best option for the long-term.

Vendor-supplied: If you’re looking for a similar email marketing solution but for a fraction of the cost, purchasing a vendor-supplied system is the best option. There are countless options to choose from, so be diligent in your selection. Consider the size of your office, your budget, your desired materials and the types of patients you’ll want to target. Click here to read about some of the top vendor solutions. The advantages of this option include a lower cost, easier setup and, often, a lower startup burden compared to a practice-purchased system. Key features of many of these services include mass email capability, email scheduling and management, and formatted templates. You’ll be able to get this system up and running quickly, which means you’ll be able to reach your target audience faster. However, you may be limited with regards to the variety of materials you’re able to send, and you’ll have to pay per user, which can add up quickly. The main disadvantage to this option is that you’ll have to enter patient information into a third-party system. While many of these vendor solutions attempt to ensure reliability and security, your risk for patient data corruption and/or theft is increased. If you choose this option, be sure to review relevant HIPAA requirements to make sure patient data is as secure as possible.

In-house: You may be able to use in-house tools to manually create email lists, compile patient information and send out personalized marketing materials. This option will work in the short-term. Although it may seem like the most cost-effective solution, remember that this option will take more of your staff’s time and effort, and it requires constant attention, compared to practice-purchase and vendor-supplied software. As soon as your budget will allow, you’ll want to research and find the best professional marketing tool for your office.

Personalize Your Marketing Materials

Once you’ve identified your target patient population, organized their contact information and selected an email marketing solution, creating personalized marketing materials is your next step. The goal here is to make a connection with each patient. To prospective patients, create newsletters that emphasize what sets your office apart: medical expertise, educated staff and state-of-the-art technology. The key here is to make clear how your office stands above the competition. This will help you begin to establish a connection and guide prospective patients to come in for a consultation appointment. For new patients, you’ll want to send out monthly newsletters detailing new technology or services your office offers. Be sure to include special rates and information about personalized plans that would be available to them. For current patients, you want to maintain a personal connection. Tailor emails and newsletters to specific subsets of your patients. For example, you might send out information on the newest facial technology to patients who have expressed interest in these services in previous office visits or patient surveys. Through personalized marketing materials, you can establish and maintain a connection with your patients.

Follow Up

After sending out materials to your patients, you’ll want to strategically follow up. Reach out to new and prospective patients and make sure they’ve received all the information they need to make an informed decision about their medical aesthetic care. Invite them in for a free or reduced consultation appointment to get the ball rolling. Also, reach out to current patients and make sure they’re aware of new technology and/or treatments in the office, and answer any questions they may have. This also gives you a chance to record and address any concerns your patients may have, so you can be proactive in your service and offer top-of-the-line, personalized care.

Targeted email marketing is an essential component of a successful marketing program. To choose the right solution for you, schedule a strategy call with Terri today and take the first steps towards making and maintaining a connection with your patients today.

Terri Ross brings more than 20 years of sales and management experience to the field, having worked with leading-edge medical device companies such as Zeltiq, Medicis, EMD Serono, Merck Schering Plough and Indigo Medical, a surgical division of Johnson.

Ross’ vast knowledge and experience as a sales director managing upwards of $20M in revenue and successful teams has allowed her to become a renowned plastic surgery management consultant helping aesthetic practices thrive.

To optimize revenues and business performance, Ross’ practice management consulting services help physicians evaluate practice processes including, but not limited to, overall-operating efficiencies, staff skill assessment, customer service and operating efficiency strategies. The goal is to develop a comprehensive plan of action to improve productivity, quality, efficiency and return on investment.

Tags:  Business and Financials  Med Spa Trends  Terri Ross Consulting 

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Retail Rakes It In

Posted By Administration, Monday, October 21, 2019


By Michael Meyer, Content Writer/Editor, American Med Spa Association

Not every medical spa offers retail products, but according to the findings of the 2019 Medical Spa State of the Industry Report, those that don’t are missing out. The report reveals that 92% of medical spas sell skin care products as retail and that, each time patients decide to buy these products—an average of 81 times per month—they spend an average of $134 on them.

“High-volume retail sales are absolutely imperative for the profitability and long-term success of a medical spa,” says Bryan Durocher, a medical spa consultant and business development expert who is president of Durocher Enterprises. “In today’s competitive market, owners must invest not only in the products and merchandise stocked on the shelves, but also in properly ensuring their staff is adequately trained in how to sell retail, so that the products move off the shelves and into their patients’ hands. Developing a staff into the ultimate retailing dream team is the best, most underexposed and underutilized investment one can make.”

If someone comes into a medical spa from a medical background, it might seem somewhat gauche to him or her to place such an emphasis on retail sales. However, selling is a key part of what sets the medical aesthetic industry apart from more traditional medical services, and it is important that all providers understand that they are part of the sales process.

“Having meetings and educating the staff takes up a lot of time, and it can be annoying and make the week a little hectic and frantic, but it’s really important,” says Tanya McDevitt, practice manager for NeoSkin Center Medical Spa and Acne Clinic, a multi-million-dollar medical aesthetic practice located in Hudson, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. “Everyone in our facility is trained, from front desk to Dr. [Tricia] Bedrick [the practice’s owner]. Everyone gets the same amount of product training.”

McDevitt estimates that approximately 20-30% of NeoSkin’s revenue comes from retail sales. Maintaining or improving upon this is a top priority, and communicating with sales representatives from suppliers and manufacturers helps her and her staff understand how to best sell these items.

“I’ve really learned to utilize the sales reps for the products that we carry here,” McDevitt explains. “I really had to change my mind-set on that. I feel like setting aside the time with the rep—whether it’s a one-on-one with me to give me updated product information or to give Dr. Bedrick a one-on-one with updated product information or a team training—is just vitally important. They’re the experts on that line. I think a couple of my product reps are in here probably every two weeks. I love having them here. We learn something new every single time they come in, and I just think the presence of those reps is really important. And I can’t believe I’m saying that, because, at first, it really irritated me. But I find that they’re very helpful.”

A provider with excellent product knowledge can confidently tell a client about the benefits of a particular product, and a happy, well-informed client will very likely recommend the product to others.

“Your existing patients are the best and most cost-effective advertisement opportunities your medical spa has,” says Durocher. “When your staff properly educates their clients, they are able to maintain their service results at home. This ensures their satisfaction and return to your medical spa, while creating enthusiasm to spread the word about  their experiences.”

Given this, medical spa owners and operators should try to sell products that are not widely available or easily obtained from other outlets.

“Most of the product lines that we carry are not available to purchase online,” says McDevitt. “I feel like that makes us a destination, and our patients know that they can’t just log on to Amazon or somewhere else and purchase them. I think that makes us unique.”

Branded merchandise is another growing aspect of medical spa retail. According the 2019 Medical Spa State of the Industry Report, 19% of medical spas offer products such as t-shirts and jewelry, and while these products don’t sell in as great quantities as the skin care products—the average spend per patient is $45, and med spas report 38 purchases per month—but because they are so cheap to manufacture, they represent a relatively low-risk way to add to a practice’s bottom line.

But even if you feel that selling t-shirts is a step too far, embracing the retail side of the industry in a meaningful way can lead to higher profit margins and greater awareness of your business.

“We’re in a very small suburb outside Cleveland that’s a high-income area, and our lobby looks just like a storefront would if you were on the street and you could walk in,” says McDevitt. “It is so exciting and fun when people walk into our new space—they’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe how beautiful it is.’ And it looks like you’re in a retail store.”

Tags:  AmSpa's 2019 Medical Spa Statistical Survey  Business and Financials  Med Spa Trends  QP 

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Texas Medical Board Approves for Publication Changes to §193.17

Posted By Administration, Friday, October 18, 2019


By Patrick O’Brien, JD, legal coordinator, American Med Spa Association

The Texas Medical Board (TMB) Disciplinary Process Review Committee met in a public hearing on October 17 to consider its posted agenda. At the hearing, the board unanimously approved a motion to publish the TMB’s proposed changes to its Administrative Rule Chapter 193, Standing Delegation Orders, including Section 193.17 – Nonsurgical Medical Cosmetic Procedures, in the Texas Register. We covered some of the proposed changes discussed at last week’s meeting here. The TMB indicated that the version approved had been revised based on the feedback it received. However, the version of the rules approved at this week’s meeting won’t be available to review until they are published in the Texas Register. This publication will trigger a 30-day public comment period, after which the proposed rules will be eligible for adoption and approval at a hearing of the full medical board. AmSpa Members can click here to view additional analysis on the meeting from our lobbyist. We will keep you updated on developments once these rules are published.

Tags:  Med Spa Law  Med Spa Trends 

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A Booming Industry with Compliance Concerns

Posted By Administration, Monday, October 14, 2019

medical spa

By Alex R. Thiersch, JD, CEO of the American Med Spa Association (AmSpa)

Anyone involved in medical aesthetics can tell you that the industry has been absolutely booming for some time now. Whether you own a large medical spa, operate a small aesthetic practice, or sell devices to providers, chances are you’re making money. Good money.

And the industry has shown incredible resiliency and staying power, having remodeled itself after the 2008 recession into a larger, more profitable enterprise.

The numbers don’t lie. AmSpa recently released its 2019 Medical Spa State of the Industry Report, which details business, financial and treatment data relating to United States medical spas. The numbers are pretty impressive.

The report showed that the industry grew a whopping 50% in 2017 alone, with 2018 following close behind with 30% growth. Since 2011, when the industry really started to take off in its current form, it has grown an average of 28% every year. And it shows no signs of stopping. AmSpa forecasts nearly 20% growth every year for the next five years, projecting the industry will double in size from 5,400 medical spas in 2018 to more than 10,000 in 2023.

The medical spa industry is currently a $10-billion business that employs more than 53,000 people by itself (excluding other aesthetic practices such as plastic surgery and cosmetic dermatology). It is on pace to become a $20-billion industry in short order. This places it among the fastest-growing industries in America.

So what’s not to like? Strong growth, better technology, increased appetite for non-invasive techniques that make customers look younger—it all looks good, right?

Although all signs point to continued robust growth, one issue lurks beneath the surface that continues to nag at the industry as a whole. It is the one problem that the industry can’t seem to get its hands around and, until it does, it risks not only never reaching its full potential, but also causing the industry to crumble under its own weight.

I’m talking about compliance. AmSpa’s report also took a high-level snapshot of how the medical spa industry functions from a legal and regulatory standpoint. It’s critical to remember that this industry is made up of medical spas—businesses that are medical facilities governed by the same regulations that orthopedic surgeons, family practice doctors and cardiologists, for example, must follow. These rules are enforced by state medical and nursing boards, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), as well as state attorneys general. These are mandatory regulations that, when broken—even if just a little bit—can result in loss of license, hefty fines and even imprisonment.

All of these outcomes have occurred at an increasing rate during the past five years, and enforcement efforts are clearly increasing. Don’t believe me? Try typing “Botox arrest” or “med spa arrest” into Google and see what pops up.

It’s understandable, I suppose, that this industry would be slow to get on track legally. After all, with entrepreneurs and pharmaceutical companies raking in billions of dollars, it stands to reason that some shady characters would operate on the fringes. And there is no question that the applicable laws can be difficult to find, are sometimes fuzzy, and almost always are antiquated relics designed to apply to a different era of medicine. With so much new technology and so many new opportunities coming together in one industry, it is not surprising that many providers have struggled to determine what rules apply, and when. Don’t believe me? Just try calling your state medical board or nursing board.

But it’s time to get serious—and fast­—because as the industry innovates, creates and adds zeros to its bottom line, more and more opportunists take notice. Turf wars are developing between medical providers and societies. Industry executives are carving out pieces of the pie exclusively for themselves. Scammers are emerging, as are get-rich-quick schemes. And state and federal authorities are opening their eyes and actually paying attention.

Here’s the bottom line: If the medical spa industry doesn’t get its act together and focus on becoming safe, compliant and trustworthy, a reckoning will come in the form of over-regulation, truly bad publicity and public distrust—none of which are good for consistent growth.

And let’s be honest with ourselves here: Many of the rules that are being broken are not terribly difficult to wrap our heads around. Should an aesthetician with zero medical training, no oversight or supervision, and no hospital privileges be performing lip injections that can cause a patient to go blind if side effects aren’t handled properly? Should lasers that can quite literally burn a patient’s skin off their faces be administered without oversight or medical supervision?

AmSpa’s 2019 Medical Spa State of the Industry Report found that 13% of medical spas don’t perform any medical consultation prior to treatment, and that 15% of medical spas have someone other than a registered nurse, nurse practitioner, physician assistant or doctor performing injectable procedures. Five percent of medical spas admit that they have employees with no medical training whatsoever performing injections.

Take a step back and really think about those statistics. There are close to 1,000 medical spas in this country where a patient can be injected with toxin or fillers—treatments with potential outcomes that, if untreated, have been scientifically proven to cause serious side effects—without ever seeing a qualified medical professional. Or where a technician can fire a laser capable of causing third-degree burns and permanent disfigurement without any medical supervision whatsoever. Now imagine the news coverage and subsequent legal and legislative action that would result from even one individual going blind from a filler injection from an unqualified provider, or one high-profile individual being permanently scarred from laser burns. The results won’t be pretty.

Physician oversight is crucial, as are minimum training standards. Basic requirements must be universally adopted and self-enforced. The public must be convinced beyond any doubt that all medical spas are just as safe—if not safer—than plastic surgery offices or dermatology practices. AmSpa, with its partners at the law firm of ByrdAdatto, has been working tirelessly for more than six years to educate the industry on the basic requirements needed to make it safe and allow it to grow to its full potential.

Tags:  AmSpa's 2019 Medical Spa Statistical Survey  Med Spa Law  Med Spa Trends  QP 

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How the Update to the Texas Privacy Breach Notification Law Could Affect Your Medical Spa

Posted By Administration, Friday, October 11, 2019

data breach

By Jay Reyero, JD, Partner, ByrdAdatto

Target. Equifax. Facebook. Capital One. For us, a data breach is a reminder that the sensitive information we routinely entrust to organizations has inherent value and can be subject to nefarious attacks. For organizations, it is a reminder of the great responsibility accepted because of the great power received from valuable information. For states across the country, it is a reminder that more needs to be done in the fight for privacy and protection of sensitive information. With the passage of House Bill 4390 (HB 4390), Texas has showed how it plans to address the privacy of personal identifying information.

Signed into law on June 14, 2019, HB 4390 amends Texas’s privacy breach notification law—Texas Business and Commerce Code Chapter 521, Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act—by specifying a time frame for when notice of a breach is required and creating a notification requirement to state regulators. Beginning January 1, 2020, if a breach occurs and disclosure is required, the disclosure must be made “without unreasonable delay and in each case not later than the 60th day after the date on which the person determines that the breach occurred.” Previously, the disclosure only needed to be made “as quickly as possible.”

It is important to understand that the 60-day time frame doesn’t create a window for compliance, so organizations should not feel comfortable simply getting disclosures out by the 60th day to comply. Instead, organizations are first responsible to provide disclosure “without unreasonable delay,” which, depending on the circumstances, could be well short of the 60 days. If the circumstances support a reasonable delay approaching 60 days, an organization will then need to ensure that disclosure is provided before the deadline.

Also, beginning January 1, 2020, HB 4390 requires notification to the attorney general for breaches involving at least 250 Texas residents. The notice will need to include:

  1. A detailed description of the breach;
  2. The number of residents affected;
  3. The current and planned mitigation efforts; and
  4. Any law enforcement involvement.

All organizations subject to Texas’s breach notification law should begin reviewing and updating their breach notification policies in preparation for the new rules in 2020.

In addition to the current changes to the Texas privacy breach notification law, HB 4390 signals that Texas is not done addressing privacy with the creation of the Texas Privacy Protection Advisory Council. The purpose of the council will be to study various privacy laws and make recommendations to the Texas legislature on specific changes regarding privacy and protection of sensitive information.

To learn more about legal and business best practices to keep your med spa compliant and profitable, attend one of AmSpa’s Medical Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps and become the next med spa success story.

Jay Reyero, JD, is a partner at the business, healthcare, and aesthetic law firm of ByrdAdatto. He has a background as both a litigator and transactional attorney, bringing a unique and balanced perspective to the firm’s clients. His health care and regulatory expertise involves the counseling and advising of physicians, physician groups, other medical service providers and non-professionals. Specific areas of expertise include federal and state health care regulations and how they impact investments, transactions and various contractual arrangements, particularly in the areas of federal and state anti-referral, anti-kickback and HIPAA compliance.

Tags:  AmSpa's Med Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps  ByrdAdatto  Med Spa Law  Med Spa Trends 

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How to Structure New Employee Orientation

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, October 9, 2019

medical spa employee

By Terri Ross, Terri Ross Consulting

Your team is one of the most important assets of your medical aesthetics practice. Each member of your team—from the front office to the clinical team, medical providers and consultants (if you have them)—should be well-trained, be knowledgeable and have a passion for the industry and their position. Building a top-notch team of employees begins with planning and executing an informative, comprehensive and well-conceived new employee orientation. Here are the elements of how to structure a successful new employee orientation—from preparation to on-the-job training—and some key points that will ensure your team is well-trained, informed and prepared.


Ahead of time, make personalized packets of information for every new employee. Make sure all key information is included, from tax information, employee benefits, the employee handbook and all legal documents to the basics of how your office operates. Include system login information, a layout of the office, and detailed job descriptions. It also is a good time to relay etiquette and dress code expectations, so any questions or concerns can be addressed before the new employee’s first full day. You may also choose to include job-specific e-training, so employees can get a head start on preparing for their role before their first day. Preparing personalized folders of information for new employees is the first step to a successful orientation. Not only does it help you build a more productive staff, but it also makes new employees feel welcomed and informed.

Assign a “Peer” or Work Buddy

To help each employee adjust to the systems and protocols of your office, it’s a good idea to assign them a “work buddy.” Preferably, this person will work closely with the new employee in their role. The duties of the work buddy include:

  • Making introductions to other employees in the office (front office staff, doctors, clinical personnel and supporting staff);
  • Making sure the new employee feels comfortable in their work space; and
  • Providing necessary resources and information about their job duties and general office protocols (system logins, meeting schedules, patient care, etc.).

Joining a new office dynamic can be intimidating and overwhelming. By assigning each new employee a go-to person within the office, you will ensure they feel welcome and integrate seamlessly into your team.

Give a Comprehensive Tour

Give each new employee a complete tour of your office, from the front office to the waiting rooms, procedure rooms and consultation rooms. Every employee in your office should know where to direct patients if needed and where to find necessary information, whether administratively or clinically. In order to offer top-notch service, each employee should be an integrated member of your team. This means knowing what types of procedures your office offers, the technology available, and a comprehensive view of the industry and how your office compares to your competition. You want each employee to know their niche in the office so they can excel in their role. The first step is offering a complete narrated tour.

Provide Access to Important Systems

In addition to offering introductory packets and a guided tour, you will want to make sure every new employee has access to your systems. If the employee will need to access patient information in their role, provide information about the patient management software and scheduling system used. Not providing this can negatively affect their productivity. If they can begin familiarizing themselves with the protocols and systems in your office during orientation, they will become productive members of the team much faster. You may also want to provide detailed information on new technology and services your office offers and make sure the employee can log onto vendor websites as needed. This way, they can take the initiative to really learn the technology your office offers, after hours if needed.

Plan a Group Lunch

New employee orientation can be overwhelming. To help make the employee feel relaxed and welcome, plan a group lunch on their first day. Order food from a nearby café or restaurant and gather in a neutral location, such as a staff conference room. Make sure a few people from each part of your office are included—front office staff, supporting staff, nurses and doctors. Not only can the new employee interact with and get to know other members of the team on a personal level, but they will also establish key connections that will help them in their role. The most important part of answering any question is knowing who to ask. This introductory lunch will assist in establishing those connections and help the employee feel more integrated before they begin their first full day on the job.

Offer On-the-job Training

As part of new employee orientation, you will want to introduce the new employee to the general structure of a normal working day. Beginning after lunch on the first day, make sure the employee is settled at their desk or office location and provide a few simple tasks to complete. The “work buddy” will need to be available and ready to assist in the coming days and weeks, if needed. Make sure the employee feels encouraged and supported to ask questions. (Read more about the importance of on-the-job training in this article.) Now is the time to make sure the new employee feels comfortable with the expectations of their role, is equipped with all the necessary tools, and can begin working as a valuable member of the team.

Follow Up

Following up is one of the most critical aspects of new employee orientation. Don’t expect the new employee to know their role completely before they have some experience. Generally, you should have the “work buddy” check in with the employee weekly. After one month, arrange a meeting between the employee and the front office manager or relevant supervisor. This is a dedicated time for the employee to ask unanswered questions. You also can use this time to gather feedback and ask the employee questions about the office, services you offer and technology you use. At this point, the employee should be familiar with their role and responsibilities, know the basics of your services and treatment plans, and have some background knowledge of the industry. Use this opportunity to give an informal quiz and make sure they are up to speed.

Having a knowledgeable staff is absolutely key to the success of your office. This starts with an effective and well-thought-out new employee orientation. Schedule a strategy call with me or download my 10 Point Assessment to learn about how to structure your new employee orientation today.

Terri Ross brings more than 20 years of sales and management experience to the field, having worked with leading-edge medical device companies such as Zeltiq, Medicis, EMD Serono, Merck Schering Plough and Indigo Medical, a surgical division of Johnson.

Ross’ vast knowledge and experience as a sales director managing upwards of $20M in revenue and successful teams has allowed her to become a renowned plastic surgery management consultant helping aesthetic practices thrive.

To optimize revenues and business performance, Ross’ practice management consulting services help physicians evaluate practice processes including, but not limited to, overall-operating efficiencies, staff skill assessment, customer service and operating efficiency strategies. The goal is to develop a comprehensive plan of action to improve productivity, quality, efficiency and return on investment.

Tags:  Business and Financials  Med Spa Trends  Terri Ross Consulting 

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What’s New in Microblading

Posted By Administration, Monday, October 7, 2019


By Alex R. Thiersch, JD, CEO of the American Med Spa Association (AmSpa)

Microblading is a semi-permanent beautification technique that typically is used to improve the perceived thickness of eyebrows. When performing microblading, providers create superficial cuts near the surface of the skin and fill them with pigment, creating the illusion of fuller hair. It is an increasingly popular treatment—in fact, according to the American Medical Spa Association (AmSpa) 2019 Medical Spa State of the Industry Report, 27% of medical spas offer microblading services, up 2% from the 2017 study, and a further 8% are considering adding microblading to their menus.

The growing success of this treatment suggests that the market has yet to reach saturation, so enterprising practices stand to make a great deal of money with this technique. Here’s what medical spa owners and operators need to know about offering microblading services.

The Treatment

Microblading is extremely inexpensive to practice owners—it only requires a disposable device that costs around $5. Also, a practice typically does not need a doctor or a health care provider to perform these treatments, which helps keep its practical costs low. However, medical spas typically charge up to $500 for microblading services, so they are realizing very high profit margins when these procedures are administered.

Patients like microblading because it is semi-permanent, which is much more palatable than the lifetime commitment that comes with tattooing, which has been used in the past to add body to eyebrows. In addition, microblading tends to look more natural than tattooing.

“It's becoming a much more popular procedure—it just keeps growing and growing,” says Maegen Kennedy, PA-C, of Fleek Brows Microblading and Training in Orlando. “There’s a lot of good that comes from microblading, but it just needs to be done the right way and with the right safety protocols.”

Unfortunately, the rapid growth of microblading has created some issues surrounding the procedure and its practitioners.

“I'm finding that microblading is becoming more of a commodity—it's becoming less about the artwork and more about the price,” Kennedy says. “There's such a high amount of potential revenue that it is extremely attractive to people who feel that they have artistic abilities or would be able to develop the artistic ability. When you have a $100,000 potential salary [that can become] up to a $500,000 potential salary or more from doing this procedure, it's like a gold mine.”

As the demand for the procedure has skyrocketed, so has the demand for trained practitioners. Since there are relatively few qualified trainers available to meet that demand, the void is being filled by some potentially bad actors.

“There are so many places that are now offering training, and there is no requirement to be a trainer at all in any capacity, and so anybody could call themselves a trainer,” Kennedy says. “A lot of these training academies are just popping up literally overnight. I find that there's a lack of medical-based training, and people are getting trained by various companies that really aren't good, truthfully, or aren't providing the type of training that they should be receiving to be able to actually do this procedure.”

The Wild West… for Now

Since the microblading process is so similar to that of tattooing, most states that have issued rulings on the matter of who can legally perform these treatments have stated that a tattooing or body art license is required. If your practice is located in one of these states, your aestheticians or unlicensed practitioners would need to get these licenses, if they don’t already have them, in order to perform microblading treatments in a medical aesthetic practice. This might sound like a bit of a hassle, but obtaining a tattooing license tends to be simpler than you might imagine—and therein lies the problem.

“The laws are way too lenient,” Kennedy says. “The procedure hides under the umbrella of a tattoo artist and, unfortunately, that means it just doesn't have a lot of requirements or regulations associated with it. There just needs to be much more oversight for safety because there's no medical degree required to do this procedure. You can be a banker one day and a microblader cutting on someone's face the next day.”

In recent years, several states have introduced legislation designed to more clearly define microblading and recommend registration and licensure procedures, but none have been signed into law. In Missouri, for example, House Bill 877 (2017) and House Bill 71 (2018) sought to modify the state’s existing definition of tattooing to include “new cosmetic procedures performed with the aid of needles or blades … .” Both bills died in committee. Similar measures were introduced in Massachusetts, Nebraska and New Mexico legislatures, but none were signed into law.

However, according to Kennedy, simply categorizing microblading as tattooing across the board might represent a step in the wrong direction.

“People don't realize that it's actually a real procedure—that you're cutting on someone's face,” she says. “They assume when they go to these places that they're using sterile techniques and they're in good hands, but it's a real procedure—they’re cutting their skin open, essentially.”

And although action has not been spurred by any high-profile bad outcomes, Kennedy believes that it’s only a matter of time before underqualified practitioners cause real problems for those who practice compliantly.

“Even when the procedure goes wrong and it looks bad, patients typically aren't taking any action against anybody,” Kennedy says. “I find that they just kind of hide out and they're depressed and they're sad and they're frustrated and they're angry. But I haven't seen or heard of many people who are taking legal steps with any of the artists when they have a bad outcome. But I don't think that's going to be the case for long, because as it becomes more widely available and people are getting it done left and right, there are definitely going to be some problems with managing infection, allergic reactions or much worse things that can happen.”

Kennedy says that she spends a lot of her time fixing problems created by unqualified practitioners.

“There's a lot of work I'm trying to correct from people who are putting brows too close together, too high, too low, or using the wrong color,” she says. “I probably get one phone call a day from a person who got microblading done, and they're very dissatisfied with their face. They feel ruined. It's a very serious procedure, and I think there's just a lot of people doing it that aren't qualified to do it or aren't doing a good job.”

Consult a local health care attorney to learn how microblading is regulated in your state. He or she also can tell you what is required to get a tattooing license where you live, if you or your employees need one, and may be able to recommend reputable trainers.

An Evolving Art Form

Thankfully, the popularity of microblading is also leading it to greater legitimacy in some circles.

“Medical spas are offering a lot more microblading than they ever have before,” Kennedy says. “Instead of solo artists going and doing their own thing, I'm seeing a lot more of incorporation into medical spas, which is a good thing. The environment is typically much more regulated. I'm also seeing people who open up solo microblading places and are doing really well start to include injectables, so they bring in injectors, and now that they have this patient base. They are opening med spas because they were successful in brows and they're now moving into opening actual, real med spas.”

Microblading is not going away any time in the near future. Even though it is likely going to face legal tests and evolve into different forms—"combo brows,” for example, are growing in popularity and combine semi-permanent microblading with actual tattooing—conscientious medical spa owners should consider offering this treatment.

To learn more about legal and business best practices to keep your med spa compliant and profitable, attend one of AmSpa’s Medical Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps and become the next med spa success story.

Tags:  AmSpa's 2019 Medical Spa Statistical Survey  Business and Financials  Med Spa Trends 

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Medical Spa Buzzwords

Posted By Administration, Friday, October 4, 2019


By Alex R. Thiersch, JD, CEO of the American Med Spa Association (AmSpa)

The medical aesthetic industry is all about buzz. A treatment that’s hot one day can be passé the next, and keeping tuned into the buzz around the industry is the only way to keep track of what’s what. There are a few terms that you’re likely to come across again and again, however, and understanding why people are talking about them is a key to maintaining a successful practice. Here are a handful of the buzzwords we’re encountering regularly, what you need to know about them, and how you can harness their power.


Historically, medical aesthetics have been associated with fast, easy solutions rather than lasting change, but, in recent years, the mantra of wellness has become a key part of the industry. Today, it’s not enough to simply look good; you must also be healthy, so a holistic approach to self-care has become a part of many aesthetic regimens.

Wellness is a concept that informs many of the other terms we’re going to cover here. Generally speaking, there is a bit of a stigma attached to “quick-fix” solutions for aesthetic issues, so many practices have begun offering more natural, organic solutions and encouraging more comprehensive views of patients’ overall health. After all, no medical spa wants to be featured as part of an exposé on botched aesthetic procedures, and the chances of that increase if your practice uses a lot of harsh chemicals and complicated treatments.

What’s more, a healthy body helps contribute to a healthy mind, and those with healthy minds are less likely to cause problems for your medical spa with unfair expectations and difficult-to-address social media reviews.


The concept of rejuvenation is a powerful one for medical aesthetic practices, as it suggests that those who partake of aesthetic treatments can recapture aspects of their youth they thought were gone forever. This is a powerful impression, and successful medical spas are able to leverage it to attract customers who are not entirely happy with their appearance or physical health.

Of course, this term is also now commonly associated with vaginal rejuvenation, a very popular treatment that has attracted a lot of attention to the medical aesthetic industry in recent years, particularly after the commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a statement in October 2018 addressing the use of unapproved laser equipment for the procedure. Despite this warning, the market for this treatment continues to be robust.


This is a loaded term. Obviously, everyone is subject to aging—after all, we all do it every minute of every day. However, medical aesthetic practices, drug manufacturers and device manufacturers use this term to insinuate that their offerings can be used to combat this process, and the suggestion that such a thing is possible is an extremely attractive proposition for those who don’t like what they see in the mirror.

Realistically, though, this term only covers the signs of aging, so it’s a bit misleading when employed as it commonly is. It remains a powerful buzzword in the medical aesthetic industry, however, and as the wealthy Boomer population continues to age, it’s going to keep bringing business through medical spas’ doors.


As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This buzzword suggests to prospective customers that the medical aesthetic treatment being advertised can help thwart future problems. Again, this is an attractive concept, both for patients who are conscientious about their appearance and for practices that stand to make money from said patients for treatments they don’t immediately need. That’s not to say that these treatments aren’t useful—to the contrary, they provide tangible benefits over time and a are part of a well-rounded aesthetic care regimen. Over time, it’s more beneficial and cheaper for patients to engage in preventive care instead of waiting for problems to emerge.

Along the same lines, prevention is a key concept when it comes to medical spa legal compliance. It is significantly less expensive to implement proper protocols and procedures at the beginning of a medical aesthetic practice’s existence than it is to correct issues after they are uncovered by a regulatory agency. It’s also a good idea to get into the habit of compliance as soon as possible, since it is a significant part of a practice’s existence.


The term “non-invasive” gets to the heart of the appeal of the medical aesthetic industry. The treatments provided to medical spa patients produce visible, often lasting results without the need for painful, expensive surgeries that require prolonged periods of recovery. The term also suggests a certain convenience—medical aesthetic treatments are non-invasive in terms of the amount of time spent at the practice, as well. A patient can typically pop into a med spa, receive a treatment, and continue on with his or her day.

Although plastic surgeons have historically been key parts of the medical aesthetic industry, the non-invasive nature of medical spa treatments typically makes them much more appealing than surgery to the average consumer. As such, practices likely will benefit from using this term in their marketing materials.


Nobody wants toxic things on or inside them, obviously, so the promise of removing these harmful elements is extremely appealing. As a result, the term “detoxify” is widely used in the medical aesthetic industry, and is effective at convincing people to undergo treatments provided by medical spas. Along the same lines, the term “cleanse” helps patients see that these treatments can help them become healthier and remove detrimental influences on their bodies. From a psychological standpoint, these are extremely powerful suggestions, and they can (and should) also be reflected in a medical spa’s design and layout—a practice should always be clean and inviting, so as to reinforce that it is a place where such things are valued. In maintaining your practice properly, you tell your clients that you are serious about all aspects of wellness.


If you tell a patient that you’re going to restore their appearance, you’re telling them that you can bring back something they thought they’d lost. Again, this is a powerful idea, and that’s why the term is so widely used in the industry. If you can restore the way a person looked in the past, perhaps you can restore the way they felt back then, as well—or at least that’s the implication. It speaks to the power of medical aesthetic treatments and helps to attract new customers to medical spas.


Again, the use of terms such as “youth,” “young” and “younger” reflects a desire on the part of medical spa patients to recover some of the vitality they’ve lost over the years. This is particularly true for Baby Boomers, who have the money to spend on procedures such as these and the time to become active again, since many are nearing or entering their retirement years. During this time in their lives, people encounter numerous milestones that suggest to them that their best years are behind them, and many are taking steps to combat that sentiment. Because of this, boomers are helping to drive the medical aesthetic industry revenues, and tapping into their desire to feel young again can help your practice develop new customers.


People want to believe that damage can be repaired. If you wreck your car, you keep telling yourself that it’s not that bad and that it can be fixed—at least until the mechanic tells you that it’s totaled. That sort of optimism can also be leveraged in medical aesthetics, even if the “damage” isn’t particularly severe. (Severe damage will probably require the skills of a plastic surgeon.) This term can be used to promote procedures such as tattoo removal and microdermabrasion, as well as a number of more conventional aesthetic treatments.

Market the Buzz

Language is a powerful tool in marketing, and learning how to leverage buzzwords such as these will help you maximize your medical aesthetic practice’s business. As you can see, a lot of this amounts to offering clients idealized versions of themselves, and as long as you can provide them a means to do that once you get them in the door, your practice stands to benefit from their patronage. Using these terms taps into people’s desires to recapture—or prolong—their glory days and to look as good as they feel, and this is something that medical spas can provide quickly, conveniently, and generally without complications. Understand who you are marketing to and what they want, and you’ll find yourself with a thriving medical aesthetic practice.

To learn more about legal and business best practices to keep your med spa compliant and profitable, attend one of AmSpa’s Medical Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps and become the next med spa success story.

Tags:  AmSpa's Med Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps  Med Spa Trends  QP 

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Join AmSpa at the New York Medical Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camp

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, October 2, 2019

new yorker hotel

By Alex R. Thiersch, JD, CEO of the American Med Spa Association (AmSpa)

Starting next Saturday, October 12, AmSpa will host its New York Medical Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camp at The New Yorker Hotel (A Wyndham Hotel). We’re extremely excited for the opportunity to help medical aesthetic professionals in the Big Apple improve their practices, and we’re looking forward to visiting New York once again. There’s still time to register for the event—just click here to sign up.

Here is a quick overview of the program:

Saturday, October 12

The Boot Camp begins at 8 a.m. with a continental breakfast, followed at 8:30 a.m. with my opening keynote. From there, we will move into the main program:

  • 9 – 10:00 a.m.: The Plan, presented by Bryan Durocher (Durocher Enterprises)—What are the most effective ways to develop a business plan for your medical spa? Medical Spa Consultant Bryan Durocher discusses the ins and outs of the planning process and helps determine how long it realistically takes to open a practice.
  • 10:15 – 11:15 a.m.: The Financials, presented by Bryan Durocher (Durocher Enterprises)—At the end of the day, the money you’re bringing in is the most important measure of your practice’s success. This presentation will, among other things, demonstrate how to properly develop a budget and use metrics to determine your med spa’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • 11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.: The Lessons, presented by Louis Frisina—Every medical spa is different, but the successful ones share several common traits. In this session, Business Strategy Consultant Louis Frisina discusses the qualities that are typically found in practices that bring in a significant amount of revenue.
  • 1 – 1:45 p.m.: Medical Aesthetic Hot Topics Panel, featuring Tim Sawyer (Crystal Clear Digital Marketing), Toni Lee Roldan-Ortiz (Environ Skincare), and a representative from Galderma—This panel, moderated by yours truly, will feature a spirited discussion of the current issues and events that concern medical spa owners and operators.
  • 1:45 – 3:30 p.m.: The Law, presented by Alex Thiersch (AmSpa) and Renee Coover (ByrdAdatto)—In this presentation, we’ll discuss the long-standing and emerging legal issues that every medical spa owner needs to know about. As you can imagine, there is a lot to cover here, since new concerns seem to be arising daily lately.
  • 4:15 – 5 p.m.: The Treatments, presented by Terri Ross (Terri Ross Consulting)—Learn about the most profitable and popular treatments available to your practice, and find out how to best determine which treatments are right for you based on the state of your practice.
  • 5 – 6 p.m.: The Digital Marketing Ecosystem, presented by Tim Sawyer (Crystal Clear Digital Marketing)—Find out how to effectively spread the word about your medical aesthetic practice and how best to determine what’s working and what’s not. Your practice’s digital presence is more important than ever before, and curating it should be a top priority.

Saturday will wrap up with a cocktail reception from 6 – 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, October 13

Once again, the Boot Camp begins at 8 a.m. with a continental breakfast.

  • 8:30 – 9 a.m.: Anatomy of a $5-Million Med Spa, presented by Alex Thiersch (AmSpa)—Have you ever wondered what the difference is between your medical spa and one that’s mega-successful? It might be less significant than you think. This presentation will show what a $5-million med spa is doing right—and what you might be doing wrong.
  • 9 – 9:45 a.m.: The Long-term Revenue, presented by Bryan Durocher (Durocher Enterprises)—Simply being successful isn’t enough for a medical aesthetic practice; you have to know how to maintain and grow your success. In this session, Bryan will show you how to build patient loyalty and move your business forward.
  • 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.: The Medical Spa Success Panel, featuring Alexander L. Blinski, MD, (Plump), Marria Pooya (Greenwich Medical Spa), and Alexa Nicholls Costa, NP, and Alexandra Rogers, NP (LexRx)—This exclusive panel features four of the most successful aesthetics professionals in the Northeast. I will ask them how about the innovative business strategies and techniques they used to rise to the top of the medical aesthetic industry.
  • 11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.: The Consultation, presented by Terri Ross (Terri Ross Consulting)—As the old saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Learn how to put your best foot forward with effective patient consultations—and how to turn them into consistent business.
  • 1 – 2 p.m.: The Marketing Plan and Social Media, presented by Alexa Nicholls Costa, NP, and Alexandra Rogers, NP (LexRx)—This session will help you determine how to most effectively market your medical aesthetic practice using both traditional methods and cutting-edge techniques.
  • 2 – 3 p.m.: The Team, presented by Bryan Durocher (Durocher Enterprises)—A medical spa is only as good as its personnel, so it’s important to make sure that you hire a staff that can do everything you want it to—and more. In this session, you’ll learn about recruiting, hiring and retaining employees who can make your medical spa dreams come true.

Also, you’ll have the chance to visit with a number of exceptional vendors during this event. Attend the New York Medical Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camp to check out the latest and greatest from the following companies:

We hope you can join us in New York next weekend. This Boot Camp is a tremendous opportunity to get a medical aesthetic business started off on the right foot, and learn how to take an already successful business to the next level. Click here to register!

Tags:  AmSpa's Med Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps  Business and Financials  Med Spa Law  Med Spa Ownership  Med Spa Trends 

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Building Your Exit Plan

Posted By Administration, Friday, September 27, 2019

doctors speaking

By Bradford E. Adatto, partner, ByrdAdatto

My father is a retired orthopedic surgeon. I’ve witnessed his personal retirement journey and know that closing the book on a successful practice can feel both daunting and exciting. But before you begin that last chapter, you must first define your goals and set yourself up to meet them.

There are several steps a physician should consider in building an exit plan: practice assessment and valuation; pinpointing late-career and retirement goals; and, finally, customizing your plan. More than anything, you need to make a plan. The most common struggle among our physician clients is taking action, because they become paralyzed by the complicated question of “when” to retire.

Practice assessment and valuation means realistically evaluating the current state of your practice and understanding your practice’s financial value. The valuation process requires you to recognize and identify your revenue streams, how they differ (professional services vs. ancillary services) and how they contribute to your bottom line. Additionally, during the practice assessment process, it’s important to assess your practice’s legal health. Even financially successful practices can be impacted by compliance issues. Recognize ahead of time if your legal model is helping or hurting your practice and make changes accordingly. You will also want to evaluate your practice from a cultural perspective. If a prospective buyer will inherit your team, it is important to be realistic as to whether there are dysfunction issues or overpaid staff that commonly result from long-term employment with a practice.

Ultimately, a successful valuation of your practice results from years of fostering goodwill with your patients. Practice goodwill relates to your practice’s ability to continue to generate earnings without the presence of any particular physician. If you want to eventually be in a position to sell, you must brand and run your practice as an enterprise. Patients must be seen as transferrable to the buying physician, and creating practice goodwill helps ensure that.

Next, it’s time to determine your retirement goals and late-career objectives. Think about your legacy and the impact you’d like to leave. Think about if you’d like to retire in stages (surgery first, cutting hours, etc.). Based on those intentions, we at ByrdAdatto can help customize a plan that sets you up for success.

While there are many exit strategies, the four most common plans we see at our firm are:

  • The Fixer-Upper Plan: This plan is all about repurposing your practice to fit your late-career goals and retirement timeline. Basically, it requires some legal restructuring. For example, under this plan, we’ve had clients develop separate entities as cost centers under a single legal model. This remodeling allows each entity to operate more independently, but still develop value under a single legal model.
  • The Sensei Plan: You, the sensei, will teach him or her, the student. This plan follows the standard concept of bringing on an associate, training him or her as a partner, and prepping him or her to take the reins in a buyout. Under this model, it is extremely important that the sensei and student develop the four Cs: cost, control, contingencies and compensation. Without mapping these elements, expectations from both parties are often unmet.
  • The Old School Plan: For many clients, the retirement timeline is compressed. Once they decide it’s time, the process of stopping practicing moves forward in months, as opposed to years. Historically, these late practice sales have ended in less value, but that is not always the case. We have worked with clients on creative solutions to retire on a shorter horizon, while still capturing full and fair value for their practice.
  • The Drop the Mic Plan: This is your show, and you draw the curtains the way you want, when you want. This exit requires you to position the practice—financially, legally and operationally—in a way that allows you to walk away on your own terms. Here, we help leverage offers to optimize your endgame.

The last bit of advice I offer is from my father: Once you retire, keep yourself busy—no matter your exit plan.

To learn more about legal and business best practices to keep your med spa compliant and profitable, attend one of AmSpa’s Medical Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps and become the next med spa success story.

Bradford E. Adatto is a partner at ByrdAdatto, a national business and health care boutique law firm with offices in Dallas and Chicago. His background is in regulatory, transactional and securities law. Having worked in health care law his entire career, he has an in-depth knowledge of the “dos and don’ts” of this heavily regulated industry. Brad has worked with physicians, physician groups, and other medical service providers in developing ambulatory surgical centers, in-office and freestanding ancillary service facilities, and other medical joint ventures. He regularly counsels clients with respect to federal and state health care regulations that impact investments, transactions and contract terms, including Medicare fraud and abuse, antitrust, anti-kickback, anti-referral, and private securities laws. Adatto has been recognized as Top Rated Lawyer by the Dallas Morning News (2016) and a Best Lawyer in Dallas in health care by D Magazine (2016 & 2018-2019), selected as a Best Lawyer in America in health care (2017-2019), and was recently named a Best Lawyer in Texas (2019) and Texas Super Lawyer, published by Thompson Reuters (2019).

Tags:  Business and Financials  ByrdAdatto  Med Spa Trends 

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AmSpa provides legal, compliance, and business resources for medical spas and medical aesthetic practices.

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